The Oakland Park City Commission approved a conditional use request from One Plant, a medical marijuana dispensary, to open its doors in the city.

The building is currently a vacant restaurant space and the business needed approval to turn the structure at 499 E. Oakland Park Boulevard into a dispensary. The vote passed 4-1 after a quasi-judicial hearing, with Vice Mayor Michael Carn being the one dissenting vote.

“This is meeting security standards; it’s a highly secure facility, the landscape improvements are pretty phenomenal,” Mayor Jane Bolin said of the plans from the business. “If you can imagine how it will actually increase the look and feel of that particular part of Oakland Park Boulevard, it’s pretty amazing.”

One Plant has eight locations around the state, including Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg and Port St. Lucie. It sells medical marijuana for patients with a prescription written by their doctor for ailments such as anxiety and pain. On its website, products include marijuana flower, pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes and cartridges for vape pens.

There are currently no medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland Park. The commission did approve another facility, but construction has not started on that one yet. Floridians voted to legalize medical marijuana in November 2016 with the passage of Amendment 2.

The work to open One Plant’s doors started over a year ago, with neighborhood participation meetings in January and November 2020, a hearing with the city’s Planning & Zoning Board in December, and finally approval from the commission. The Planning & Zoning Board approved the business’s request 5-0.

The approval did not come without stipulations, though. The dispensary cannot have a marijuana plant as a logo or on any signage, open a drive-through, or have doctors write prescriptions on site. Structural and landscaping improvements will also be made to the more-than 13,000-square-foot space, including nearly tripling the landscaping space on the lot.

Perhaps the biggest stipulation is that the dispensary can only sell medical marijuana, even if the state legalizes recreational marijuana. Should that occur, One Plant must come back to the commission for further approval.

“We are gratefully accepting the conditions that you proposed, that we would not be able to change from medical use if changes come from the state without coming back to you,” said Stephanie Toothaker, the lawyer representing One Plant.

Law prohibits dispensaries to open within 500 feet of a school or childcare facility — Mt. Zion AME Church, which is two blocks away, wrote a letter confirming that their childcare facility would be moving before the opening of the dispensary. Hammerhead Aquatics, though, wrote a letter against the dispensaries opening as they will be opening an aquatics center across the street. However, it was deemed that the swim school did not qualify as a school.

“I know that ‘harmony’ is one of the requirements, it’s one of the criteria,” said Commissioner Aisha Gordon. “How does harmony look in this situation when you have your neighbors who are really concerned about having this facility put in place?”

Vice Mayor Carn asked the city attorney if there are rules in place to space out dispensaries — the city attorney said since it qualifies as a pharmacy, there are no rules.

“The state has told us that we cannot regulate these types of businesses more than we regulate a pharmacy, am I correct?” Carn asked.

He ended up voting against the conditional use.

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